Album Review

Phantom of the Black Hills - Moonshine Bright

Phantom of the Black Hills - Error

Phantom of the Black Hills, one of the outlaw music scene's favorite bands of renegade pickers, stummers, pluckers and bangers, is back with a new album on Ratchet Blade Records, Moonshine Bright. Continuing to terrorize the musical wagon trail of the current roots revival with their sound of doom country, frontier-core, and hellbilly punk, Phantom of the Black Hills' most recent collection of songs is as powerful and violent as the fiery blast of an old blunderbuss, with each deadly projectile hitting a different mark.

Throughout Moonshine Bright, Phantom of the Black Hills lays down some mean distorted chords, plenty of pickin' and strummin', hillbilly fiddin', strong drums, and gritty outlaw vocals. The opening song, which is also the title track, is as dirty and intoxicating and homegrown as the contents of the musical barrel in which it was distilled. "Hellbetties Risin'," the first single from Moonshine Bright and a raw cowpunk offering with male and female vocals, is as sharp as the edge of a boot knife. "In Hell" is a lawbreaker anthem which rides like hell for the horizon, loot in hand, putting some distance between oneself and the hangman's noose, yet knowing full well that, when the time comes, hell will be one's ultimate destination. "The Storm is my Shelter" is about as close to traditional country music as this band gets, but it is still pretty far removed from the purist idea of the genre, which is decidedly a good thing. The closer, "A Life for an Eye," is a little different from the rest of the album in that it is garagey roots rock and dark country punk hybrid.

Moonshine Bright by Phantom of the Black Hills is available from the Ratchet Blade Records webstore here.